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Smells Sexy

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"You vampires. Did anybody ever tell you the whole smelling people thing's a little gross?"
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This is the The Nose Knows version of Mr. Fanservice, Ms. Fanservice, and the Head-Turning Beauty. It is the reason why humans invented perfume and cologne. A character with Super Senses will probably be attracted to a person by their smell, especially if they've got some doggish attributes. Both vampires and werewolves are likely to note that their victim/lover smells good.

In Real Life, countless species use pheromones for communication, especially for identifying when its members are able to reproduce. In fiction, this is a little more explicit... a character will 'smell sexy', and often there will be a list of exactly what that character smells like. Expect a man to lovingly bury his face in the girl's hair, or nuzzling her neck as he tells her how wonderful she smells. Often, this calls back to baser, more bestial desires and needs, although it can be 'pure and romantic'.

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May be related to Love Is in the Air, if the 'love flu' is coming off of one person. See Aroused by Their Voice for when a character's voice arouses other characters. May involve Perverted Sniffing.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • As already mentioned, this trope is the basis behind cologne and perfume, and thus is behind many often artsy ads for cologne and perfume, as well as The Man Your Man Could Smell Like and other Old Spice commercials.
  • Also the basis for a shampoo named Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Classi9: In the first chapters, Mozart is very fond of Ren's "oriental scent" and clings to her or smells her hair whenever he can.
  • Gunsmith Cats: At one point in the manga, Minnie-May Hopkins explains to her boyfriend (who works with explosives) why she loves him so much: he smells like gunpowder.
  • Kanokon: Used as a Hand Wave to explain why Chizuru and Nozomu are all over Kouta — due to having recently moved to the city from the countryside, he "smells like forests", which apparently attracts Kitsune and wolf-spirits in equal measure.
  • Kyo Kara Maoh!: In episode 96, Yuuri mentions again how beautiful he thinks Sara is and thinks that he smells nice.
  • Made In Abyss: Apparently, Nanachi's fur has a sweet and pleasant scent. Just ask Reg.
  • Noragami: This apparently a trait of gods — even scruffy drifter gods like Yato smell really nice.
  • Tokyo Ghoul uses a variant of this. Kaneki is noted to have a very unusual scent, thanks to his rather unique nature and having received organs from a female Ghoul. As such, his scent is a strange blend of Human and Ghoul as well as Male and Female. This earns him a Stalker with a Crush in the form of Tsukiyama, who repeatedly engages in Perverted Sniffing.
  • Urara Meirocho: When exposed to alcohol, Chiya releases wild pheromones that attract and put in heat animals and humans equally, it works with the same sex because she successfully attracted Koume and Nono.
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    Comic Books 
  • The Smurfs: In "The Wild Smurf", Wild briefly smells Smurfette and then suddenly has the hots for her.
  • Daredevil: The Purple Man smells like whatever he wants to smell like so you do whatever he wants you to do.

     Fan Fic 
  • All-American Girl: Aroused Equestrian mares emit a pheromone called phenethylamine, causing them to smell of dark chocolate.
  • Dirty Sympathy: Klavier is comforted by the smell of Apollo's cheap violet cologne. Played with when Daryan smells Klavier's hair, it seems like he's enjoying the smell of Klavier's expensive saffron cologne, but then it turns into something else.
  • Empath: The Luckiest Smurf: In "Papa's Big Crush," Papa Smurf pursues Smurfette following his Hulking Out moment because he can smell her pheromones.
  • Farce Contact: A female Vulcan's dislike of how humans smell is explained by humans smelling like a rutting Vulcan male, which can be smelt for vast distances by the sensitive nose of a Vulcan female, and is therefore known as the pong farr.
  • Impunity: House manages to identify a few women, including Cameron and Cuddy, with his eyes closed and without hearing any of their voices, simply by knowing what perfume they tend to favor.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Some fanfics utilize the premise that bonds with Miracolouses create "mating cycles" in humans, with accompanying production of mating pheromones.
    • Lady and the Tomcat: Marinette learns that, thanks to her bond with Tikki, she has a "mating cycle" (despite the same bond making her temporarily infertile) in which she gives off pheromones that will make people around her more relaxed, but will have a much more intense effect on her partner Chat Noir. "If he's around you too much during this time, it'll set off the mating hormones in him too. And those will reflect back at you, and the connection will drift back and forth until it's painfully hard to manage." Unfortunately, while Ladybug can alert Chat to this and tell him to stay away from her outside of battle, the two have no idea that their civilian identities are in the same class.
      Tikki: You two can fight akumas together, but long periods of time where he's exposed to the pheromones will be the most detrimental. Like if you two were to sit near one another for an extended period of time.
      Marinette: Well, we don't do that.
      Tikki: Exactly.
    • In Heat: Here the mating cycle comes with more intense symptoms even if the two don't avoid each other.
  • Twice Upon An Age: Implied in All This Sh*t is Twice As Weird when Cullen has to remove his armor during the Wicked Grace game. The Lord Inquisitor's Big Brother Instinct kicks in and he covers the Lady Inquisitor's head with Cullen's discarded surcoat, much to her annoyance, though she consoles herself somewhat by noting that "at least it smells nice."

    Films — Animated 
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Frollo shows his lust for Esmeralda by smelling her hair in a very creepy fashion.
  • Rebuild of Evangelion: A weird version is present in the second movie: Mari Makinami likes Shinji's scent... because he smells like LCL. She also mentions that she doesn't mind the scent of Eva-02, even though it smells like "the previous pilot", Asuka, perhaps indicating there's something special about Shinji.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Gregory's Girl: Gregory uses this to describe Dorothy to Andy, much to his confusion.
  • Legally Blonde: Elle's resume is printed on pink, perfumed paper to make it more noticeable to prospective employers. Her assistant professor (whom she later marries) loves the smell.
  • Ocean's Thirteen: Linus uses a powerful pheromone that makes Abigail Sponder go crazy for him, successfully distracting her and buying time for the other team members.
  • Pitch Black: Riddick appears to be preparing to shank the new female captain from the shadows, but he simply cuts off a piece of her hair to give it a sniff when she isn't looking. In The Chronicles of Riddick, he tells Lady Vaako "It's been a long time since I've smelled beautiful."
  • The Way He Looks includes a scene where Leo masturbates while wearing and sniffing Gabriel's hoodie, pressing his face against the fabric of the hood to breathe in Gabriel's scent..

    Literature 
  • A Brother's Price: The day after they make Jerin a Technical Virgin both Jerin and Ren independently catch the scent of the other on the nightshirts each of them were wearing and bury their noses in the cloth. Ren vows not to wash that shirt. Jerin calls himself a silly boy and puts his into the laundry.
  • Anita Blake: In the earlier books, werewolves and vampires are always telling Anita they can "smell her lust".
  • Danganronpa Zero: In one scene, Ryouko revels in the scent left on Yasuke's bedsheets.
  • Dora Wilk Series has werewolves and vampires gifted with a powerful sense of smell, leading to this being a problem for Szelma and Dora. Szelma blames it on her werecat-induced cat pheromones, while Dora's issue stems from her being a fertility witch.
  • Dragon Blood: Tisala sniffs Ward's clothes after he has gone away to let himself be imprisoned in an insane asylum where no one has escaped, yet. She feels a bit silly about it, noting that he probably doesn't like her back, and she's behaving like a creep. (Also, there is no need to get sentimental about his being away, as she of course plans to break him out as soon as she has recovered from the severe injuries that led to him giving her his bedroom to sleep in in the first place.)
  • Harry Potter: Amortentia, a love potion, smells like whatever the individual likes to smell most. When smelling said love potion for the first time, Harry picks up a scent he himself can't quite place, but the description given by the narration matches Ginny Weasley, making this an early indication that (earlier crushes notwithstanding) they're soul mates. Similarly, Hermione lists three things that she can smell in the potion but stops herself from revealing the fourth; according to Word of God, the one she wouldn't mention was Ron Weasley's hair.
  • Perfume, a 1985 novel by Patrick Suskind, is arguably the trope codifier. The book's main character is Jean-Baptise Grenouille, an unwanted orphan with a powerful sense of smell. Over the course of the story, he becomes obsessed with capturing and bottling the scent of a woman, turning into a creepy serial killer of virgins. Just before he's executed, he pours single drop of the perfume on himself, throwing the crowd gathered to watch his execution into a lusty orgy. Later, using the whole bottle at once causes him to be torn limb from limb and devoured by beggars.
  • The Princess Diaries: Mia likes the smell of Michael's neck.
  • The Sky People. Tessa of the Cloud Mountain People can scent that human explorer Marc Vitrac is attracted to her, and is puzzled why he can't scent the same about her.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Batted around lightly in the novel Metamorphosis. Data, fully transformed into a human by an alien quest-ritual, finds himself romantically involved with a female Original Character. Smelling her hair during an embrace, the narrative describes the android!Data part of his mind cataloguing pheromones, while the human!Data part angrily demands the right to simply enjoy the scent.
  • Star Wars Legends: In Shadows of the Empire, Prince Xizor has the ability to emit pheromones at will to attract females. He attempts it with Princess Leia, with only a partial measure of success.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Played with when Sheldon moans somewhat amorously after inhaling the scent of new comic books.
    • Amy Farrah Fowler says that Sheldon "smells like a sexy toddler" while she's very tipsy. Apparently, he smells like talc.
  • Blood Ties: In one episode, Henry is apparently attracted to the smell of death and can't stop smelling Vicki after she returns from a funeral home.
  • Frasier: Niles fetishises the smell of Daphne's hair.
  • Gossip Girl: Dan says he couldn't possibly have feelings for Blair Waldorf, and then sheepishly adds "But, you know, she does smell nice..."
  • Oz: Keller notes, in "A Cock and Balls Story", that his boyfriend Beecher "Smells Sexy". (the smell being Beecher's father's aftershave).
  • Rome: Averted. Cleopatra has to have a child with a Roman for political reasons, so her servant Charmian selects Lucius Vorenus for her.
    Cleopatra: So red! (sniffs at him in disapproval)
    Charmian: Leather, olives... not so bad.
    Cleopatra: (grumpily) He'll do.
  • The Sentinel: Blair tells Jim that this is the basis behind two people having "chemistry" together. Jim, of course, was head-over-heels for a woman specifically because she smelled so good.
  • Star Trek:
    • Klingon females are shown sniffing their mates as foreplay, such as in TNG "The Emissary" and the Voyager episode "Blood Fever". In Star Trek: Voyager, Seven of Nine does this to B'Elanna when she's possessed by the personality of a Klingon male in "Infinite Regress".
    • Star Trek: Enterprise: Averted with T'Pol. Apparently, human males smell awful to the sensitive nose of a Vulcan female. How this reconciles with her Ship Tease with Trip and Archer is never mentioned.
  • The 10th Kingdom: Wolf gets really enthusiastic about Virginia's smell, which is part this trope, part to do with a different appetite.

    Music 
  • Ed Sheeran: Mentioned in "Shape of You", where he says that his bedsheets still smell like the girl who was in it the previous night.
  • Gackt has gone on many a Japanese TV show hosted by men, only to have them remark how beautiful they find him and how good he smells.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • FoxTrot: Played for Laughs in a strip where Paige is trying out a new perfume specially formulated to attract teenage males. The scents are based on pizza toppings.

    Religion 
  • The Bible: In the Song of Songs , the Shulamite and her Beloved both compliment how each other's fragrances turn them on.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Rocket Age: Some Martian castes appear to have modified pheromones to make them more attractive, more persuasive and commanding, or both. The Royal and Priest castes tend to have the full package, while the Courtesan caste appear to only have pheromones designed to enhance their attractiveness, although given how often they seem to rise to power...

    Video Games 
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: An innocent variant can be found regarding the shawl Zelda made for Link to use in the goddess ceremony. The regular text describes and explains the purpose of the garment; then, in smaller letters (as though indicating a quieter voice), it adds, "...it smells nice too."
  • Story of Seasons (2014): This factors into one of the potential romance arcs . Klaus, one of the male love interests, is a perfumist by trade and will give perfume to a female character who romances him, mostly so he can enjoy how she responds to the smell.

    Web Animation 

    Webcomics 
  • Candi: Candi explicitly lists this as the main reason she stayed with her boyfriend, even when he acted like a jerk.
  • DiggerL Boneclaw Mother makes a crude comment about one of the tribe's younger males. When reminded by Shadebones that she's blind, Boneclaw Mother simply replies that "he smells adorable."
  • El Goonish Shive: The Female Variant 5 form setting on the Transformation Ray Gun causes the person zapped with it to smell sexy.
  • Girl Genius: Played with: the Jägers, a cadre of monster-men already noted for being rambunctious in love and war, keep claiming that the protagonist Agatha 'smells nice', implying that they are Lovable Sex Maniacs. Most of them are, but what they're actually smelling in this case is that she is a long-lost heir to the dynasty of Mad Scientists to whom the Jägerkin owe fealty. Later, one of the Jägers asks Gil if he thinks Agatha smells nice. Failure Is the Only Option when he has to answer.
  • Keychain of Creation has Marena, who has "smelling good" as one of her potential powers.
  • PvP. Reggie rebukes Jade's flirty sister Miranda, claiming that her feminine charms won't work on him because he's blind. Miranda walks off-panel, and Reggie says, "Damn, she smells good."

    Web Video 
  • Dad: Diane. Dad loves her perfume, and can't help but sniff the lingering scent on his fingers. Unfortunately, he also knows he isn't supposed to be doing this, and worries that liking Diane's perfume is cheating.

    Western Animation 

    Other 
  • Truth in Television, apparently. Scientific investigation has revealed that women actually CAN pick potential 'mates' based on smell - indeed, they can subconsciously 'smell' good genes. The attraction by smell is actually from having dissimilar types of antibodies, with nature preferring dissimilar ones for healthier offspring. Guys can do this too. Although, this sense is limited in modern humans, considering how we mostly use vision (appearance) and/or higher cognitive functions (like similar interests, intelligence or wealth) in choosing mates. Scent can also indicate arousal and illnesses.
  • Also, interestingly, this may explain why women wear their hair longer than men do. The pheromone glands in humans are located on the back of the neck. The long hair acts as a wick to spread the pheromones and thus attract the attention of a mate. This also explains a bit of the romantic hair-snuffling mentioned above; men are known to be attracted by the scent of a woman's hair (shampoo, etc.) but it's the pheromones there that really make it chemically addictive in the male brain.
  • More explicitly, pheromone glands are also located in the groin area. It is strongly believed that this is to make a person more enticing to their sexual partner. Indeed, queries have found that rather than being unappealing—as many women fear—most men find the aroma coming from this region to be very arousing.
  • There is also a theory that kissing as a gesture of affection and/or passion arose from smelling scent glands located on either side of our noses, and the actual mouth contact grew out of that.

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